Cat fleas are not selective as to the cats that they infest. Even the healthiest, best care for cats can get fleas.
A cat that goes outside the home can become a host for fleas by mingling with other cats or other animals, or even just by being in the same territory that other animals have been in.
So how can your cat that is strictly an indoor kitty get fleas?
You can bring them home to her, you can bring the parasites into your home on your clothing.
Once in your home the flea hops off of you and onto your cat who provides a better environment (because of her higher body temperature.)
If you have a dog, who you will almost certainly take outside, the fleas can hitch a ride on him too.
is possible for fleas to simply hop right into your home through an open
door or window.
A cat infested with fleas may scratch more than usual or groom itself obsessively – or may not.
Many cats, when bitten by fleas, have an Allergic Reaction to the saliva from the flea's mouth. It is these cats that are likely to scratch and bite at themselves.
But some cats seem to tolerate fleas in their fur with out much irritation.
To check cat for fleas - Using a flea comb, groom through your cat paying particular attention to behind the ears, the neck, the underside and the base of the spine.
Be gentle, but you have to ensure the comb reaches right to your cat's skin.
If your cat has a heavy infestation you may spot the fleas themselves, but it is more usual to find flea dirt. Flea dirt is actually flea feces, which in appearance are black, or dark brown grit-like specks.
Test by depositing the specks on a damp tissue, if red weeps out from them they are flea droppings, which are mainly composed of dried blood.
You may not see the cat fleas, but flea dirt is a sure sign your cat has them.
Fleas lay their eggs in your cat's fur. Most of these eggs fall out and eventually hatch into larvae in your cats bedding, cracks in the floor, in upholstery, in fabrics and in your carpets.
The larvae feed upon adult flea feces and organic debris for around seven days, before developing into pupae and continue to evolve into adult fleas that attach themselves to, and feed from, any host animal that comes by, your cat being an ideal candidate.
Fleas live from two months upwards and can be feeding (gorging on blood) for a much of that time.
Cat fleas moving around and through your cat's coat can cause her much irritation. Your cat will be likely to scratch and bite in an effort to relieve the irritation, this can lead to Skin Problems.
On top of this your cat could swallow the fleas, and as fleas eat tapeworm eggs, the eggs end up in your cat’s small intestine. The most usual way for a Cat to get Tapeworms is by Eating Fleas.
Infestations of cat fleas can cause your pet anemia from the loss of blood. This can be particularly hazardous for kittens or adult cats that are in poor health.
You will first want to tackle the parasites on your cat's coat with a combing. Remember though that a flea comb will only remove 50% of the fleas at the most, and perhaps as few as 10%.
Have a bowl of water containing dish washing detergent by your side and thoroughly comb through your cat's fur.
Remove the parasites from the comb and drop them into the bowl, or frequently swish the comb in the water. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) smeared onto the comb will help the cat fleas stick to it.
The next stage in the attack is to employ a flea control product. You may wish to consult your veterinarian who can advise about treating your cat for fleas and recommend and supply flea control treatments.
It is particularly advisable to consult your veterinarian if your cat is unwell, whether due to the parasite infestation or not, or is pregnant or nursing.
Do not use a flea control product on your cat or kitten unless it is labeled as being safe for cats because cats can be very sensitive to insecticides. Always follow the dosage instructions on the container.
But remember . . .
Killing the cat fleas on your feline is not even half the job. You now need to rid your home (your cat's environment,) of fleas.
For every adult flea on your cat there are many more eggs, larvae and pupae. If you don't get rid of the eggs, larvae and pupae, they will evolve into adult fleas and soon be back on your cat.
Get out your vacuum cleaner and vacuum – everywhere! Lift rugs, get under furniture, get right into corners and crevasses, along skirting boards, anywhere you can vacuum do so.
Have plenty of cleaner bags handy, change them frequently and seal them thoroughly. Dispose of them outside your home straight away.
Vacuuming will pick up flea eggs, larvae, pupae and any adult cat fleas trapped in carpets.
Vacuuming will also stimulate flea pupae to emerge from their cocoons! Inside the cocoons are fleas waiting to hatch. They can sense the heat and vibrations of nearby animals. Your vacuum cleaner gives off a small amount of heat and vibrates and so fools them into believing that a suitable host is near.
It is advantageous to have as many of the pupae hatch out as possible because, although it is easier to vacuum up the pupae than it is to vacuum up adult fleas – you will not get them all and pupae are impervious to insecticides.
You may consider steam cleaning your carpet as an option. Next, wash your cat's bedding, your bedding, removable covers and clothing.
The next step in your flea control program is to treat your cat's environment with foggers, sprays or flea bombs. You will probably find products that contain Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) work most effectively. IGR works on the eggs and larvae, and also prevents cat fleas from reaching mature form so they will not lay eggs.
As noted above, the pupae are impervious to insecticides which is why the vacuuming is so important.
Ensure that you treat everywhere, including under furniture and rugs.
Remove any living creatures from the room, remove any food, and keep children from the room. Follow the directions on the packet.
Even though you have carried out a complete flea control session, you may find that fleas reappear. This is because it is very difficult to eradicate all the adult fleas, larvae and eggs in one attempt.
Also any pupae left behind will hatch out. But after two or so assaults upon the problem you should be able to keep cat fleas off your cat and out of your cat's environment.
Kitten fleas are harmful to your little pet. The tiny parasites can cause many problems from tapeworms to anemia, a condition that in severe cases can prove to be fatal.